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What matters now. A publication from Medium about politics, power, and culture.


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Voices From Inside the System

A woman who comes from a family with dynastic wealth explains what it really feels like to profit from a profoundly unfair system

Voices From Inside the System is a new GEN series where we interview people who have had firsthand experience in industries with especially fraught histories of systemic racism and inequity. We asked our subjects to think deeply about the role they played and the work they did. We asked them why they stayed or why they left, how they might be complicit, or if they thought they — or anyone — could fundamentally change the system.

This anonymous 44-year-old white woman from Ohio, now living in Los Angeles, comes from a family with dynastic wealth. According to a 2018 study

As the megarich continue to stockpile wealth, it’s helpful to think of their greed as a problematic affliction

Extreme wealth has become a modern obsession. The desire to achieve billionaire status permeates pop culture, from hip-hop lyrics to reality television to motivational Instagram posts, where the ultrarich are lauded. As ordinary people’s economic fortunes teeter, this paradigm is coming under increased scrutiny.

How many superyachts the size of apartment buildings can one person own? How many private jets? How many mansions? All that money creates an explosion of trinkets and possessions they can’t possibly use or consume, yet the megarich refuse to give them up. …

I always wanted to be a member of the elite. Elite conferences are where I get the closest.

I have devoted my life to one thing. That thing probably should have been helping others. Instead I have been laser focused on becoming a member of the elite.

When I was seven, my parents took me from our suburban New Jersey town to a French restaurant in Manhattan, where they tried to dissuade me from ordering escargot by telling me that escargot are snails. It was a good strategy, but it didn’t work. I suffered through those gastropods, and then I suffered through homework and extracurriculars to get into a college with brand recognition.

I got into Stanford, where…

A multimillion-dollar fraud involving Hollywood celebrities and major investors reveals the moral bankruptcy of elite colleges

The political journalist Michael Kinsley has a saying about Washington, D.C.: “The scandal isn’t what’s illegal. The scandal is what’s legal.” That truism is worth keeping in mind as the country digests, with a mix of hilarity and outrage, the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice.

The world of elite college admissions had its own Kinsley gaffe this week, and it was a doozy. A brief recap: According to the FBI, wealthy parents including celebrities, like Desperate Housewives actress Felicity Huffman, paid large sums of money to William Rick Singer, the founder of a for-profit…


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